Belfast Telegraph

Chris Morrow the main man bringing Crusaders a touch of class

By Graham Luney

Every team has a player who makes them tick. When that player's name is not on the team-sheet, fans' hearts sink.

For Crusaders that player is Chris Morrow. The classy midfielder will be the centre of attention on Saturday, November 16 when his Testimonial Lunch kicks off at Seaview before the game against Ballinamallard United.

The man they call 'Beaver' will get some well deserved praise for loyal and distinguished service at the Shore Road club.

There are many special midfielders in the league including Barry Johnston, Richard Clarke, Stephen McAlorum, Peter McMahon, Michael Gault, Jamie Mulgrew and Stephen Lowry.

The 28-year-old Morrow belongs in that illustrious company.

I watched him control the game against Portadown at Shamrock Park, spraying passes from one side of the pitch to the other.

All the time I was thinking he hasn't changed a bit. He's one of those players that instills fear in the opposition because when the ball comes his way the end result could be a killer pass or the net rippling.

Goalscoring has been a major feature of his game since he came through the ranks at Crusaders. One of his career highlights was scoring the winner against Coleraine in the Irn-Bru League Cup final at the Ballymena Showgrounds in January last year. He was named Player of the Year by football writers at the end of that season.

He has won every domestic trophy apart from the league title – the Setanta Cup in May last year was another highlight and Morrow slammed home one of the penalties in the shootout against Derry City.

But not all his memories are cherished ones. There has been relegation to the Intermediate League and lengthy frustrating spells in the treatment room.

The Seaview favourite suffered a horrific leg break at the end of the 2007-2008 season and after returning, an ankle injury forced him on the sidelines again.

Thankfully, the man his boss Stephen Baxter simply calls a "quality footballer" is flying and more history could be made if he helps fire Crusaders to the title.

Morrow, Colin Coates and David Magowan have all made more than 350 appearances for the north-Belfast side – wonderful servants to the club.

Only Jordan Owens has scored more goals (99), while Morrow has taken his tally to 64.

And the best thing about the Chris Morrow story is that he's a Shore Road boy shining for his local club.

There is no question he will give every ounce of energy and drop of sweat for the Crusaders cause.

He's even donned the goalkeeping gloves, allowing Baxter to have five outfield substitutes on his bench. If there's one player who deserves a Premiership winner's medal it's Chris Morrow.

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